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A structuring festival for its territory

In 1988, Jean Léquipé, Choir Director at the Paris Opera, conducted a summer musical programme from which the idea of a Singing Competition quickly emerged, presided over by Jean Giraudeau, a renowned opera singer and teacher.

The reputation of the Competition grew rapidly and the Festival decided to produce lyrical works (The Magic Flute, Carmen, the Land of Smiles,…). These works were initially accompanied by two pianos and directed by Jean Giraudeau, who was also the musical director.

Since its creation, the Festival has been pursuing a real policy of decentralization throughout the whole of the country, with concerts in Virazeil, Fourques, Meilhan, Gontaud, Tonneins, Couthures, Sainte-Bazeille, Beaupuy, Cocumont, Le Mas d’Agenais….

In 1995, after Jean Giraudeau’s death, Michèle Herbé became a director. Philippe Mestres, Director of the Ecole de Musique agréée de Marmande, adds to his role as President, the Musical Direction.

The Orchestre des Symphonistes d’Aquitaine, created that same year, now accompanies opera productions. Thus, the Festival sees its artistic quality recognized and asserts its influence, as well as its notoriety (the shows are broadcast more widely: Mérignac, Dax,…).

The opera singing class, the CHAM classes with a “dominant vocal”, the Maurice-Ravel Vocal Ensemble with its associative extension, the Lyrical Choir, were created at the Conservatory, in the wake of the Nuits Lyriques, integrating vocal art into the Marmandaise identity.

After the work carried out at the Théâtre Comoedia, Les Nuits Lyriques de Marmande has a tool that meets the professional requirements of its productions, including an orchestra pit and air conditioning for the comfort of the audience.

Professional recognition is quickly accompanied by artistic bridges and partnerships with Canada, Belarus, China, South Korea and, soon, Spain.

In 2018, to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, the Nuits Lyriques de Marmande attracted a wider audience for the Gala Concert, which brought together former winners of the Singing Competition, the Orchestre des Symphonistes d’Aquitaine and the Festival Choir. More than 1,200 spectators attended, many of them for the first time. A breach has been opened that shows that Lyric Art is popular, contrary to popular belief.

Finally, innovations such as the creation of the High School Jury Prize and the Social Networks Prize have raised awareness among a younger or neophyte audience.

2019 is the year of a new impetus, a new page to be written, with the ambition of broadening the audience, consolidating our international influence and, by 2022, becoming a Regional and National Resource Centre in terms of Lyric Art.